After discussions with my family and close friends I have decided to break my silence on what is clearly a well-orchestrated campaign of harassment against me. I left Guyana a week ago to attend a conference in Jamaica amidst reports in sections of the Guyanese media that I had committed the gravest political crime—calling on people of my home village to block traffic and dig up the roads. I will not get into the accuracy of the initial report which appeared on Demerarawaves.com. But suffice to say I supported fully the people of Linden, Tain and Albion for blocking the traffic and digging up roads when they thought it was the most effective means of registering their disgust with official and unofficial injustice. I expressed similar sentiments to the people of Buxton at a WPA public meeting on Thursday August 16.
Immediately the Acting Commissioner of Police, without verifying the reports of what I said, challenged me to meet him and his mighty force on the frontline. On Saturday August 18 I was subjected to massive police surveillance as I travelled from Georgetown to Buxton and back and while I was there in the village. This was not surprisingly followed by an avalanche of condemnations and demonization of me in the PPP-aligned media and some of the private media and by some opposition activists.
A few days later my house was burglarized in what has been described by one investigator as “not a regular break-in.” Two computers and a small amount of jewelry were taken. Almost one week later the police have made no headway in their investigations.
The following day officials of the university where I teach called me in Jamaica to report that they were receiving daily emails and phone calls from anonymous callers claiming to be representatives of the Guyana government who claim that I am part of a plot to assassinate the President of Guyana and overthrow the government. The emails, which take the form of Minister Rohee’s transcript of my public utterances over the last three months, have been traced to one A. Chanderpaul. As I write this statement the calls and emails continue.
I have no proof that these actions are officially sanctioned. But given the government’s track record, I am swayed in that direction until proven wrong. Even before these recent incidents, my daughter, on July 20, received an anonymous call telling her that the authorities were aware that she is my daughter and that she should let me know that I am a danger to the government. As a political activist I expect harassment from those who have the power to do so. But to go to the lengths they have gone is beyond harassment and they should not be able to get away with it under the guise of public security.
If my crime is calling on people to exercise their right to resistance in the face of state violence, then I am guilty. The PPP has accused the opposition of socializing young African Guyanese to beat and rob Indian Guyanese. I am not going to be part of socializing a generation of African Guyanese to think it’s normal to take blows and not find ways to resist. In the meantime my activism against injustice and for a just society in Guyana where all of its peoples are free from tyranny and are represented by a National Government continues.
To quote from our National poetic voice, Martin Carter: No, I Will Not Still My Voice.